Finnish University Students Keen on International Mobility

FRS’s Petri Lautjärvi has been a visiting lecturer at Finnish universities to talk about global mobility. We also collaborate with students writing their master’s theses on the subject.

We all have that one subject matter or cause that we’re passionate about that we wish more people knew about or were interested in. For us at FRS that’s international talent mobility and international human resources management. Because of this, we started to reach out to universities and polytechnics in Finland to see if there was interest amongst the students and program heads for these subjects. We were pleasantly surprised and even a little overwhelmed by the warm welcome.

International mobility on lectures and theses

First, it is clear that the student body in Finland is international. Every course we’ve been to as a guest lecturer has had people from all over the world. This is a resource that would be invaluable for Finland to utilize better, and this has been discussed extensively elsewhere. Due to this international atmosphere, the native Finns in these classes have more contact with other cultures and international networks than ever before. Perhaps this is one part of the reason for the interest in hearing about the experiences of international talent mobility professionals. Today’s students see themselves managing increasingly diverse and international workforces and talents so practical experiences from industry professionals seem to be in demand.

Additionally, we wanted to offer our support for students writing their graduate theses. It’s not so long ago that some of us wrote our own theses and as international professional mobility is a subject that has not been yet exhausted in research in the Finnish context, we wanted to assist them in this. Working with four very bright young students in furthering the understanding of companies in dealing with subjects such as international talent attraction, onboarding, and retention has been encouraging.

Interesting questions from future HR professionals

In these lectures and during talks with students, a few common threads have emerged. One aspect that many students of IHRM have raised in various contexts is the responsibility of employers to their employees in relocation situations. Many questions have touched upon the subjects of “How should a company measure the relative wellbeing of their transferee’s from home to host country?” or “What responsibility should an employer have for a smooth and pleasant relocation?”. In addition to these questions of responsibility, it has been encouraging to also hear the other side of the coin “How can employees benefit from foreign talent?” and “What can international talent do to make themselves more attractive to Finnish employers?” These are great questions, active questions, and ones we definitely look forward to facilitating more discussion about!

This all of course bodes well for Finnish companies in the medium to long term. As today’s students become tomorrow’s HR professionals, managers, and recruiters, this interest and open-mindedness will be carried into the companies they work at. These experiences have been so positive that we’re going to continue working in cooperation with educational institutions in the future and although our thesis partnerships for this Spring semester is full, we’re happy to help students in the future as well. We’ve also learned a lot ourselves!


More on this topic:

Research collaboration: Foreign employee’s spouse – Key to successful international employment